Conference Proceeding

Encoding motion and state change in L2 Mandarin

This paper investigates the crosslinguistic influences on the learning of encoding motion and state change in L2 Mandarin based on the linguistic typology motionmand state change (Talmy 1985, 2000; Slobin 2004). We conducted an experiment of elicited descriptions of events of motion and state change with 10 adult native American-English learners of Mandarin. The results show that L2 adult Mandarin learners, similar to their L1 child counterparts (Chen, 2006, 2008), are sensitive to the Mandarin-way of encoding motion and state change. Overgeneralization errors reflect an overuse of the dominant way of lexicalizing motion and state change in the target language. The early learning of the target language pattern may be explained by Clark’s (1993, 2004) principles of learning constructional regularities and the inter-typological similarities between Mandarin and English.